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Wrapping Up the Craft Cocktails Texas Event

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Hear that? It's the sound of thousands of peoples' livers collectively breathing a sigh of relief. A boozy whirlwind of a weekend concluded last night with the Craft Cocktails Texas wrap-up party at The People's Last Stand in Mockingbird Station. The rum flowed like a river as drinkers enjoyed delightfully retro tiki drinks -- those brave few who were still standing after three solid days of cocktails, seminars and parties.

The highlight of the weekend was the outdoor festivities at Main Street Gardens, which transformed the downtown green space into a veritable Candyland for lushes.

Local vendors hawked T-shirts and jewelry while the fine folks of Rescue Me had pooches up for adoption in the dog park. (What's better than free booze and cute puppies? Duh, nothing.)

Brad Hensarling and his loyal minions from Fort Worth craft cocktail bar The Usual set up shop mixing some of Cowtown's finest libations for sweaty festival-goers as the North Texas chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild pitted drink-slingers from all over Texas head-to-head in a cocktail competition. In the end, Dave of The Usual emerged victorious with a tiki drink using Pink Pigeon, a new-to-Texas rum that's distilled on the island of Mauritius with bourbon vanilla.

Runner-up Polo from The Standard Pour created a tasty whiskey sour with Maker's Mark, and Charlie from the Windmill Lounge took third with his Roxor Gin Fizz. (Roxor is the first gin ever to be distilled in Texas; it's bright with citrus and indigenous ingredients like pecans, and easy on the juniper, making it a wise choice for those looking to branch out from vodka but not quite ready for the acquired taste of a traditional London dry-style gin.)

Organizer Nico Ponce says some 700 local boozehounds braved the scorching heat to attend the outdoor festivities. The festival as a whole seemed to be a smashing success, and they fully intend to make this an annual event.

Now excuse me, I have some detoxing to do.

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